May 24, 2018 / 11:21 AM / 6 months ago

Thursday Morning Briefing

From expansion in the South China Sea to Trump’s investigation into car and truck imports, catch up on the latest headlines with the Morning Briefing.

Students from Ar-Raudhatul Hasanah Pesantren read the Koran during the holy fasting month of Ramadan in Medan, Indonesia May 23, 2018. REUTERS/YT Haryono

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CHINA

At first glance from above it looks like any clean and neatly planned small town, complete with sports grounds, neat roads and large civic buildings. But the town is on Subi reef in the Spratlys archipelago of the hotly contested South China Sea and, regional security experts believe, could soon be home to China’s first troops based in the maritime heart of Southeast Asia.

China has found no clues to explain what happened to an American citizen working at a U.S. consulate who reported suffering from “abnormal” sounds and pressure leading to a mild brain injury, a foreign ministry spokesman said today. 

Trump has signaled a new direction in U.S.-China trade talks and said any deal would need “a different structure,” fueling uncertainty over current negotiations. 

UNITED STATES

The Trump administration has launched a national security investigation into car and truck imports that could lead to new U.S. tariffs similar to those imposed on imported steel and aluminum in March. World shares crept higher as cars become the latest focus of U.S. protectionism worries, while Turkey’s lira slumped back after a huge emergency interest rate hike failed to stem its problems. 

Trump welcomed the National Football League’s decision to fine teams if players on the field refuse to stand for the national anthem, saying in an interview broadcast on Friday that if they don’t want to stand maybe they should not be in the country. 

Trump’s focus on North Korea's nuclear weapons – and his seeming willingness to put U.S. forces on the negotiating table – is missing Kim Jong Un's real leverage, writes Kent Harrington, a former senior analyst for the CIA. "Even without nuclear weapons, the North Korean army holds Seoul hostage."

 WORLD

Yulia Skripal survived an assassination attempt that UK authorities blame on Russia. But the daughter of one of Russia’s most famous spies says she wants to return to her country “in the longer term”, despite the poisoning. Read our exclusive interview. 

North Korea followed through on a pledge to blow up tunnels used for nuclear testing on Thursday, media reported, as part of steps that have reduced tension on the Korean peninsula and raised the possibility of a summit with the United States.

Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were honored with the PEN America 2018 Barbey Freedom to Write Award. Read more on the reporters who have been detained since December 12 and are accused of violating the country's colonial-era Official Secrets Act. 

BUSINESS

Vistra Energy and Dominion Energy both say they are focusing on solar instead of building combined-cycle natural gas-fired power plants. This bearish view of fossil-fuel energy, reflective of a growing acceptance by utilities of renewable power sources, poses a hurdle to John Flannery’s plan to turn around GE’s $35 billion-a-year power unit.

Deutsche Bank is slashing more than 7,000 jobs to cut costs and restore profitability, while keeping its international reach as its new CEO seeks to reassure investors and clients.

Study after study shows that money stress can be as bad for workplace productivity as back pain. That is why companies are providing a more robust menu of voluntary financial wellness benefits, sometimes with cash incentives or discounts, to help employees manage their money. Read more from the World at Work series.

REUTERS TV

The reindeer-herding Dukha people of Mongolia fear they are losing their traditions in the face of a conservation order by the government that bans unlicensed hunting on most of their traditional land.

Mongolia's reindeer herders face an identity crisis
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